I logged on today to find an email from someone who claimed his ad copy had been stolen and used here in a WSO by another member. He also mentioned that he'd started a thread on it in the main discussion section.
My first move was to look at the evidence, and ask for the one bit he hadn't provided. While I waited, I came here to see the predictable chaos.
While I was reading and replying to that thread, it appears to have been deleted. And appropriately so. Threads like that result in nothing useful. Everyone with an unmet preference or an unsubstantiated claim of wrongdoing crawls into them, and things start to sound like whackjob conspiracy theories.
What's sad is that, in this case, the person making the claim provided strong evidence and has what looks like a legitimate beef. His copy appears to have been lightly "spun" and re-used. And when I say lightly, I mean it. Clearly a swipe. That is being acted on. We do not tolerate that sort of thing here when we're made aware of it and proof is provided.
There were a number of things done in that thread which warranted deleting it. The first is the offer to PM the info to other members. That doesn't allow the person being accused to respond. It wasn't as big an issue this time, as it was actual evidence, rather than the usual empty allegations. I'd have let that pass, personally, except for one thing: The result.
Folks who read that thread will know the threats that were made by another member here against the accused infringer. I would like to warn that person that the issue is still not 100% certain. (If the person having made those threats wishes to know where the potential doubt still lies, PM me.) Even if it were certain, we don't need that kind of nonsense here.
Then there was the usual garbage from people who've watched too many XFiles re-runs.
The most fun one was from a completely anonymous member who said his negative reviews of a product were deleted, and that this indicated that the mods are more interested in keeping fake positive reviews up than in the truth.
I personally have deleted a lot more positive reviews that were posted by shills than I have negative comments about WSOs. A LOT more. The majority of negative comments that are deleted are either too personal (bashing the member, rather than pointing out problems/shortcomings with the product), or come from someone who appears not to have purchased or seen the product.
An unpleasant fact for some people: Completely anonymous members get far less credibility than folks with something to lose if they lie.
Another suggested that we were ignoring similar complaints. That is nonsense. We ignore them when there's no evidence provided, or when it turns out there's no basis to the complaint. I've had people claim that another member stole their copy, only to find that there was nothing to it but a similar product and a standard format salesletter. No copying of any kind. And, in at least one case, the person claiming his copy was stolen was actually the one who did the stealing.
We obviously can't go around deleting people's ads or accounts based on nothing but an allegation. Too many of them turn out to be wrong, or plain old lies.
This time there's actual evidence. Someone copied someone else's ad. I just needed some proof of which used it first. I got that, to a sufficient degree to satisfy myself about who swiped from who.
A third funny comment ran to the effect that this would be proof of how we deal with these situations.
That's logically unsupportable. It's also quite irresponsible of the person who said it. All you can glean from public postings is what's said publicly. There is usually a lot more to it, once you see the whole situation. And often those additional facts lead to a very different conclusion than is presented by the person making the allegation.
Here's a little clue for folks who feel their stuff has been stolen: Tell us about it, using the help desk or a PM, and provide evidence.
Posting in the other guy's thread isn't telling us about it. We cannot read every comment posted on this forum. Those days are long past. And without some sort of evidence, don't even bother. An unsupported allegation isn't going to be acted on. Far too many people make them, and they're almost always lies.
Do not start following someone around the forum, posting about your beef in every thread they start or reply to. That's a quick ticket to bancationland.
Is it possible that some of the unproven allegations are true? Yes, of course it is. But we can't do anything about them. That sucks, but not nearly as much as what would happen if we just started nuking threads or accounts based on any unsupported claim made by any random member.
Flame away, but remember the warning at the top of this post.